Introduction to Cryptography - MATH/CMSC 456

Spring 2018


Course Overview

This course is an undergraduate introduction to cryptography, whose aim is to present the theoretical foundations of cryptosystems used in the real world. This course complements Computer and Network Security (CMSC 414), whose coverage of cryptography focuses more on its applications; in this class, we will look "under the hood" to get a better understanding of various cryptographic primitives, algorithms, attacks, and protocols. The course will be similar, though not identical, to my previous offering of this course.

The required textbook for this course is Introduction to Modern Cryptography, 2nd edition. The second edition of the book is required. Exams in this class will be "open book" but electronics will not be allowed; therefore, students are advised to purchase a hardcopy edition of the textbook and not use an electronic version including illegal versions found online. Note also that illegal copies of the book available online often do not match the printed edition (especially when it comes to the exercices); the instructor will not be responsible for any deviations in content.

This course has a significant mathematical component. No advanced mathematics background is assumed, but students are expected to have "mathematical maturity" since many of the concepts will be abstract, rigorous definitions and proofs will be given, and some advanced mathematics (group theory, number theory) will be covered. Basic background in discrete mathematics (probability, modular arithmetic) and analysis of algorithms (big-O notation, reading pseudocode) is assumed.

Moreover, the homeworks in this course will require programming. The choice of language is flexible, but C/C++/java or python are recommended. Moreover, some homeworks will have a networking component with the networking code provided for you in a particular language. It is assumed you can pick up what is needed in order to complete the assignments.

Finally, this course will require significant work outside of class: in particular, students are expected to read assigned material from the book in advance of lecture, and there will be (programming) assignments roughly every week-and-a-half.

This course will follow all applicable UMD policies and procedures.

Lecture Schedule

After each lecture, I will post a (brief) summary of what we cover, and provide references to relevant sections of the book, here.

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